Over the next several weeks, I want to write about of some of the lesser talked about royals in Europe for a series entitled “Who Is?”. One such royal is Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat.
Marie was born Marie Agathe Odile Cavallier on 6 February 1976 in Paris, France, to Alain Cavallier and Françoise Grassiot. She has four half-brothers. Her two elder brothers belong to her mother, while her two younger ones belong to her father. From 1981 to 1989, she attended a Parisian primary school. After her parents divorced, she moved with her mother to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1989 where she attended boarding school at the Collége Alpin International Beau Soleil. In 1994, she began her studies in economics at university. From 1995 through 1997, Marie studied international business and economics in Boston, Massachusetts, USA at Babson College. By 1999, the Princess had received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College. It was during her years in university that she worked for Estée Lauder in Paris and ING Numismatic Group SA in Switzerland. During this time, the Danish Monarchy tells us she was also teaching French.
After the completion of her degree, HRH worked in New York City at DoubleClick Inc as an international marketing coordinator. By 2002, Marie was back in France working for Radianz, which is a part of the Reuters financial news agency. Further, she worked from 2005 through 2008 for ING Numismatic Group SA as the executive secretary. In addition to speaking her native French, the Princess also speaks English, Spanish, Italian, and Danish. The latter she began learning while preparing for her wedding to HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark.
Marie met Joachim while he was still married to then Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Countess of Frederiksborg, at a dinner party in Denmark in 2002. By 2005, they had reconnected and started a relationship. Prince Joachim, in an interview with Hello! Magazine said, “I was married at the time. But because we happened to be the only two French-speaking people at the dinner, our host seated us next to each other. And as Marie had never been to Denmark it was fun to talk to her. Our romance, however, started much later.” For her part, Marie was cautious about marrying a prince. She was quite independent and lived in Switzerland with her beloved dog. She was quoted by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten saying, “I’d been fending for myself for years…I had a great life – I didn’t need to be rescued by some prince from Denmark.”
However, in October of 2007, the engagement of Marie and Joachim was announced at a press conference, where she showed off her French flag themed engagement ring. They wed on 24 May 2008 at the Møgeltønder Church in Sonderjutland, Denmark. On 4 May 2009, the couple’s first child, Prince Henrik was born. He was followed by Princess Athena on 24 January 2012. Princess Marie is the stepmother to Prince Joachim’s two sons from his first marriage to Alexandra: Prince Nikolai, born 28 August 1999 and Prince Felix, born 22 July 2002. Further, she is the godmother to five children, one of which is her niece, Princess Josephine – the daughter of the Crown Prince Couple.
Marie, who was raised as a Roman Catholic, became a member of the Church of Denmark before marrying Joachim in 2008 and also, became a Danish citizen. She began her royal role not long after her wedding. Her first patronage was announced in 2009 as the Tønder Festival, which is an international folk music festival. She is also the patron of the Annual Literature Prize, Danish Student House in Paris, The Danish National Commission for UNESCO, the Danish Ski Federation, Wadden Sea Festival, Danish Epilepsy Association, Autism Denmark, The AIDS Foundation, DanChurchAid, the Kattegat Centre, Copenhagen Jewellery & Watch Show, Copenhagen Cooking, and ambassador to Syddansk Universitet (The University of Southern Denmark). By all accounts, HRH is a much loved, hard-working member of the Danish Royal Family.
Princess Marie holds the following honours from Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant, Royal Family Order of Queen Margrethe II, Commemorative Ruby Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty The Queen, Commemorative 75th Birthday Medal of His Royal Highness The Prince Consort, Commemorative 70th Birthday Medal of Her Majesty The Queen, Commemorative 75th Birthday Medal of Her Majesty The Queen, and Badge of Honour for good service in the emergency services. She also holds foreign honours from Norway, Greece, Mexico, Finland, and the Netherlands.